17 March 2013

Latif Maulan @ Art Row

Settling in a pop-up studio along Publika's Art Row, Latif Maulan paints and exhibits his realist works in this very accessible location.  Working primarily with oils, Latif's more recent paintings highlight the plight of the modern Malay woman, having been inspired by the Surrah Al-Nisa (the Qur'an chapter on women).

The Ribs (2010)

A circumstantial dilemma from the Creation story is portrayed in 'The Ribs' - Eve is naked and curled up, but ready to step out of the painted frame.  However, she is positioned with the torso of man, a not-so-subtle reminder that the Female is subservient to the Male, as implied in the story of Adam & Eve.  

The Labyrinth of Nowhere (2011) and sketch

In 'The Labyrinth of Nowhere', the lady is lying down on a beautifully rendered mat, cigarette in hand.  Labyrinthine dreams of grandeur await her, chasing ideals that will eventually result in herself getting lost.  The similar-themed 'Tenggelam' is a literal dream, a struggle in vain as life drowns out the lady.  The green tonal variations of mazy hedges in the former, and drops of water frozen in mid-air in the latter, highlight the technical expertise of the artist.

Tenggelam (Frozen) (2011)

Latif provides a cynical commentary in 'Monopolygamy', where the Malay woman is subjected to "Peluang?" and "Kantoi", advancing the token on her own Monopoly life.  The woman is drawn with great realism, from the inward-folding hand & foot, to the mop of hair spread out on the board.  The drawn-out ambivalence on her face, may just be how the artist feels for his helpless characters, a one-sided empathy for the world around him.

Monopolygamy (2013)

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